Belichick: Gordon Getting Up to Speed Quickly
By Ross Gienieczko
Bill Belichick has been pretty tight-lipped regarding wide receiver Josh Gordon so far, and that didn’t change following Sunday’s 38-7 Patriots win against the Dolphins
“I thought we got contributions from a lot of people, everybody,” Belichick said when asked about Gordon after the game.
On Monday, however, the Pats coach was willing to expand a little bit on Gordon’s football past and his learning curve in New England
“Josh has worked hard. He’s a smart kid. He’s got quite a bit of experience. He’s obviously played in a lot of different systems with different coordinators and so forth. So I think one way or the other, he’s probably experienced things that we’re doing in one of those systems,” Belichick said. “He’s been able to pick things up quickly and has experience doing different things. So it was good to get him out there. We’ll just see how it goes, take it week to week.”
Belichick was also happy with the way his defense responded in the rout. New England held Miami to just 172 yards of offense, with much of that coming on a garbage time touchdown drive that produced the Dolphins only points of the game.
The Pats held Miami to a miniscule 56 yards on the ground, a significant improvement from their effort against the Lions.
“We had contributions from a lot of different players. The line, the linebackers, the secondary played well together in their units and between the units so we had good team defense,” Belichick said. “Our pass rush and our coverage fit together. Our run fits fit together. We tackled better than we have the last couple weeks, certainly. We were able to create more long yardage situations.”
At the center of the defense, linebacker Dont’a Hightower had something of a bounce-back game after struggling so far this year. He was only credited with two tackles, but Belichick thought his communication and play recognition was vital to the team’s defensive effort.
“Sometimes players... maybe they can’t even tell you how they know what the right thing to do is, they just know what the right thing to do is,” Belichick said of Hightower’s instincts on the field. “Sometimes they anticipate it, sometimes... it just comes to them instinctively. (Hightower) is a smart player. He can play multiple positions. The mental part of the game seems to come very easy for him... how does he know what to do? I’m sure it’s a combination of all those things, as it is with a lot of great players.”
Finally, with the Colts coming to town Thursday night, Belichick talked about the process of condensing game preparation down to just a few days.
“There are things that, we’ll get to them, but not maybe in the same depth that we normally do,” Belichick said. “You either have to leave some things out, or the things you spent 20 minutes on last week, you spend six minutes on this week.”
There’s also the difficulty of getting ready physically for a second game in a five-day span.
“The challenges are dual. One’s a physical challenge. Coming off a tough game like we had yesterday, tough division game, and being ready to play Thursday night I think physically is challenging because you just have three less days to do it in,” Belichick said. “Mentally, to have to forget about everything we worked and studied on for a week, and then really in a matter of a few hours turn that around and totally get into the new opponent and the new personnel and all the things they do.”
After it seemed like they matched up against each other once or twice a season for over a decade, this will be the first time the Patriots and Colts have met since 2015.